It is well known here in the PNW that “spring” is a bit of a misnomer. It was 70 degrees one week. The next week it’s 50s and sprinkling. Summer doesn’t start until July. And, even on a nice day, there is a sudden burst of cold air for a few hours. Deciding what to wear on a ride (even short ones) can sometimes be hard to determine.
And we all want to be perfectly comfortable while riding. Here are some considerations for the less experienced.
Keep those Muscles Warm
***Not a medical professional disclaimer here. I am not a doctor, so anything that sounds like medical advice isn’t. Have questions? Consult your doctor or other health professional. ***
We warm up our muscles and stretch them (both during and after rides) for a very good reason. They need time to get ready to work harder. Warmed and taking care of our muscles also helps prevent injury and speeds up recovery times.
I like to help keep them warm while out riding with a layer, even if that makes me a bit warmer overall. And a little extra sweat is ok.
Bring an Extra Pair of Gloves
Gloves are generally small, and having an extra pair can be the difference between a great ride and a story you tell about that one time…
I highly recommend a neoprene glove for those damp but shorter rides and the occasional lightly rainy ride. They can be great for a variety of conditions. The downside is that they can get oversaturated in heavier rains and your body heat cannot keep your hands warm enough.
For most rides, I bring a liner glove. The one pictured is a little thicker, making it a little tight under the fingerless gloves. That is way better to bolster a second glove or just for those conditions where gloves are needed but not anything super thick.
Get to Know What You Like
There is a lot of gear out there and you don’t know what you like until you give it a try. A couple of my personal favorites and none of these are sponsored.
- Base Layers – I prefer Under Armour, they have great shirts for wicking or warmth and sun protection
- Arm & Knee Warmers – Have both winter weight, has an extra layer and summer weight. I find that Pearl Azumi products have held up very well
- Packable Rain Jacket – Currently seeking a new one. This doubles for a light jacket in so many conditions.
- Vest – Keep your core warm, packable, and can provide an extra pocket if needed.
Your Feet Are Important!
How many hikers tell you about keeping their feet in good condition? All of them. Do not neglect your feet. Having cold feet can be hazardous too. Clipping and unclipping will be more difficult. Plus, cold feet could indicate that your body is prioritizing other parts for warmth.
For your cleats, use toe warmers and other covers to keep the wet and wind out. Use a sock base layer. I have a very thin set I think designed initially for skiers that work great.
Wool and wool blends are the way to go.
Plus, as the weather warms, you can get up your #SockGame on!
For me, I would rather be a little warmer than cold and maybe have to carry an extra layer occasionally rather than suffer through being cold and put myself into potentially extra challenging situations.
Keep on riding!